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First Utility - Most incompetent energy provider
Just over 4 years ago the energy provider FU (First Utility) made a small mistake with my final bill when I left a rented property. FU apologised for the mistake and stated that they had cleared and closed my account so I thought the matter was closed. However, what followed next was 4 years of stress and frustration trying to get FU to engage with me and correct their mistake and call off the Debt Collection Storm Troopers that they unleased on me without any consultation what so ever.
FU have used all the tricks at their disposal to avoid actually having to engage with me to resolve the consequences of their billing mistake. I have spent hours trying to engage with FU and most of this time is spent repeating myself again and again as I never speak with the same person more than once, even when the issue was supposedly escalated to the highest customer relations team.
Unfortunately, the sheer incompetence and arrogance of FU is mind blowing. Even when they have an opportunity to get closure via a goodwill gesture they even manage to mess this up multiple times by breaking their promise and not actually sending out the goodwill gesture.
As for getting them to explain their actions you might be better asking a baboon to explain quantum physics. Without any consultation FU unleashed their pet Debt Collection Storm Troopers to hound and threaten me. I know from various company review sites that there is a history of Energy providers, including FU, using Debt Collection dogs to intimidate innocent customers into submission and they use these parasites without notifying the customer.
I am convinced that FU actively blocked the email address associated with my account to frustrate my attempts to resolve the issue. When I tried to circumvent this by using a different email address FU rejected my email stating that I must use the email address associated with my FU account. When I asked FU about blocking my email account surprise, surprise they denied that this was being done even though I pointed out to them that their own automated reply system did not work when an email was being blocked. Unfortunately, FU treat customers with contempt and think they are stupid. Oh, and shock horror shortly after this conversation my email account suddenly started working. Go figure.
FU have offered goodwill gestures of £35 and then £50. However, both of these were never sent so I had to chase them each time and on the last occasion I rejected the £50 offer, but they then had the audacity to say you can't reject it as it had already been accepted. A so called Senior complaints manager informed me that FU considered the £50 goodwill gesture (Relates to £12.50 for every year) was the final offer and was in FU's opinion a reasonable offer for the 4 years of grief they had subjected me to. I explained that the only option I was left with was to post my experience onto various Social Media platforms, which is what I proceeded to do.
Throughout this sorry saga FU have never once contacted me to try and resolve the issue. However, once I posted my experience on one of the Company Review sites it solicited an immediate response from FU. FU actually contacted me (now there is a real FIRST), but yet again I had to explain the history to a different person all over again. FU then came back and offered to increase the goodwill gesture to £75 (£18.75 for every year), which I rejected and said that I would accept £250. First Utility rejected this and said that £75 was their New final offer.
Shortly after FU contacted me again (someone different of course) and they wanted to know if the £250 I asked for would resolve the issue to which I replied that it would. They dangled this carrot then immediately took it away by saying that they would not pay this, but were prepared to increase the old final offer to a New final offer of £100. After dangling the carrot and taking it away this was the final slap in the face so I rejected their latest Final offer.
After 4 years, 4 Final goodwill gestures I have now received a Deadlock letter and advise to seek a resolution with the Ombudsman. However, the Ombudsman is swamped with complaints about the energy companies and is powerless to reign them in. The only option left to customers is to let their feet do the talking and share their experience via the various social media and review sites so that others can make an informed decision before going with these rogue companies.
In my opinion First Utility has to be the most incompetent and obnoxious company I have ever had the misfortune to come into contact with. The broken promises, belligerence, stone walling and use of Debt Collection agencies as their personal Storm troopers to silence or bully innocent customers into submission is totally unacceptable and I hope that one day the authorities revoke their license to operate.